GAME DAY: Dallas

The race for eighth place heats up as the Jackets and Stars clash in "Big D"

Wednesday, 04.24.2013 / 6:00 PM / News
By Rob Mixer  - BlueJackets.com

BLUE JACKETS (22-17-7) AT STARS (22-20-4)

8:30 P.M. THURSDAY

AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER | DALLAS, TX

TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO (HD) | RADIO: 97.1 FM & BLUEJACKETS.COM






The saying goes that "everything is bigger in Texas," which could only mean Thursday's game between the Blue Jackets and Stars is nothing short of mastadonic.

With two games left in the NHL regular season, the two teams are separated by three points in the standings and it presents a huge swing-game opportunity for both sides. If the Blue Jackets can win their seventh road game in their last nine outings away from Nationwide Arena, they would create mathematically insurmountable separation between themselves and Dallas and move one step closer to clinching their second playoff berth in franchise history.

On the other hand, Dallas can really help its cause by earning a bounce-back win on home ice. The Stars were in good stead two nights ago in San Jose, leading 2-1 with six minutes to play and on the verge of moving within a point of eighth place. But all of a sudden, the Sharks woke up and did what they've done so often on home ice: scoring two quick goals (in a span of 30 seconds) to erase the one-goal deficit and take the lead with less than five minutes remaining in regulation. It was a devastating blow to the Stars, who seemed to have total control and were playing a stifling brand of hockey in a tough environment.

But the Blue Jackets aren't complaining about the Sharks' win, as it gave them a bit of assistance in their playoff push. Despite holding down eighth place for the last week, they are in the tense situation of not controlling their own destiny - yet.

Regardless of how the Detroit Red Wings or the Stars finish out this season, the Blue Jackets have no margin for error and have only one option: win both of their remaining games, beginning Thursday in Dallas. Both previous meetings in the season series between Columbus and Dallas have taken place at Nationwide Arena and both were one-goal decisions. Ironically enough, the most recent meeting (Feb. 26) was an overtime loss for the Blue Jackets that got their 12-game points streak started and led to where they sit today.

And for all prognostication since the start of the season, there comes this fact: on April 25, 2013, the game with the highest stakes in the NHL will feature the Blue Jackets and Stars. Whoever wins this game will have a much clearer understanding of where they stand once it's over.




- The Blue Jackets have received contributions from all parts of their lineup to get into the playoff mix, and their record over the last 27 games reflects it: they are 17-5-5 in that stretch and have gone from 15th place in the conference to eighth (currently).

-In their previous meeting with the Stars, the Blue Jackets owned the lowest point total in the NHL. They are now three points ahead of Dallas with two games to play.

- Columbus does not expect to have Anisimov or Nikitin in the lineup against the Stars, though coach Todd Richards said Aucoin and Boll would make the trip and play.

- The Blue Jackets won their last trip to American Airlines Center back on Dec. 29, 2011.




Antoine Roussel
ANTOINE ROUSSEL

LEFT WING | #60

2012-13 STATS: 7-7-14, 37 GP

Rather than get a few solid games from a young recall like Roussel, the Stars found themselves a reliable every day player who can contribute at both ends of the rink. The 23-year-old native of France fits the Stars' mold perfectly: he hits hard, he gets under the opponents' skin and he has the ability to chip in on the scoresheet. He's been valuable during Dallas' playoff run, too, scoring goals in each of the last two games on their California road trip.




COLUMBUS: Artem Anisimov (upper body), out; Matt Calvert (broken finger), out; Nikita Nikitin (lower body), out

DALLAS: Alex Chiasson (shoulder), probable

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
B. Dubinsky 4 1 5 1 6
J. Johnson 4 3 2 1 5
R. Johansen 4 2 3 0 5
B. Jenner 4 2 2 -2 4
M. Calvert 4 2 1 3 3
D. Savard 4 0 3 2 3
M. Letestu 4 1 1 -1 2
C. Atkinson 4 1 1 2 2
J. Wisniewski 4 0 2 -4 2
A. Anisimov 4 0 2 -1 2
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 2 2 0 .900 3.22
 
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